Who Review: The Snowmen
By Steven Moffat
Reviewed by Jeffrey Zyra
“It's Smaller On The Outside."
It’s been months since the Ponds have left in September of 2012 and it’s time for annual Christmas Special which comes during the middle of Series 6. 2012’s special is titled The Snowmen and boasts to having killer snowmen roaming around as the main creature of the story. The Doctor Who Christmas Specials have now become a Christmas tradition that you expect something special to compliment the day of gift giving and enjoying the family dinner. So was this edition of the Doctor Who Christmas Special top notch or was it, as a certain Christmas fixture would say, Humbug.
Well I found The Snowmen to be absolutely entertaining and a whole lot of fun but a bit dark for a Christmas Special. It did have a dark feel to it as the Doctor was moping around and being negative and not his normal self. Not really caring what was going on and not really wanting to get involved with anyone or any situation. Sometimes the Christmas stories can get a bit too silly but The Snowmen wasn’t as silly as I feared it would be from the impression I got from the trailers. In fact the comedy relief was not overdone and I really enjoyed the scenes with Drax and The Doctor as it brought a nice touch of lightness to a story that seemed darker than normal for Doctor Who’s Christmas romps.
The story itself was pretty good. I enjoyed the way they got the Doctor off the snide and back into action. Really liked how the story moved along at a leisurely pace and kept you thinking what would happen next and would The Doctor recover his senses and be his old self again and get involved and save the day. Loved how Clara just seemed to get attached to The Doctor and persisted on trying to get him to help. I think the pairing of those two will work as the pairing of Matt Smith and Jenna – Louis Coleman seem like a great fit and we should be in for a great ride with those two in the TARDIS.
I didn’t really mind that Madame Vastra and Jenny were in this story as they were a nice touch. They weren’t in it all that much and their scenes did help the story along and they weren’t overused which is a fault of Steven Moffat sometimes overusing secondary characters but in The Snowmen I believe he got it right this time. I do like Madame Vastra and Jenny and think they would be good in their own spinoff. It would be pretty interesting to see their adventures in Victorian England.
It was wonderful to see the Great Intelligence return to Doctor Who. Loved the two stories it was in during Patrick Troughton’s era The Abominable Snowmen and The Web of Fear and with the recent recovery of The Web of Fear fans can now see what he was like back then. Loved reading about the Great Intelligence in the Target book novelizations and am glad that new fans and I can get to see this villain again. What a wonderful surprise for the fans and loved the killer snowmen he controlled. Plus The Great Intelligence was voiced by Gandalf himself Ian McKellen so how cool was that. This brings me to Richard E. Grant and his portrayal of Doctor Simeon. He was really good in The Snowmen and Richard E. Grant made Doctor Simeon really creepy. Such a wonderful performance and one you’d expect to get for the Christmas Special and it was good to see him as The Great Intelligence in the Series 7 finale The Name of The Doctor.
One thing that I did not care for and which was not really explained all that well was the rain. We see the dying Clara crying and then it starts to rain. Not really explained too well and I’m guessing it is just part of the mystery that is surrounding Clara but it did seem to dampen, sorry bad pun, the story just a bit. I mean it did seem a bit convenient and an easy way to come about the conclusion but not all that sure how it came about. It was a pretty clever plot device though and we do know now why the rain was like that.
What really intrigued me about The Snowmen was Clara. Who is she? We did find out that she is indeed Oswin Oswald from Asylum of the Daleks or in fact some form of her. Now this revelation I did find to be really cool and to leave off on a mystery was awesome and did breathe some new life into the same old Doctor Companion relationship. It was interesting watching this again knowing where Steven Moffat takes this in the second half of Series 7.
On a whole I really enjoyed The Snowmen. I enjoyed it way better than 2011’s C.S Lewis homage The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe. In fact I enjoyed The Snowmen 100% more and it is one of my favorite Christmas Specials. It was a wonderful story that does a lot of things different and surprising like killing off Clara and just making it a traditional Doctor Who story for once with monsters and baddies to fight. It opens up a can of mystery for the fans to ponder and that is a great thing to have happen. Plus I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the new theme and opening credits. I loved it. It was good to see The Doctors face in the sequence again. Plus the theme sounded retro and harkens back to the classic series in way while keeping it fresh. In all a wonderful story that makes it a special Christmas day for all Whovians.